'There's an unfillable void in our lives': Family says goodbye Jacintha Saldanha

Children of royal-hoax nurse say tearful farewell at cathedral service

The Christmas tree in Westminster Cathedral was bare yesterday, save for a solitary star at its top. As small groups of visitors wandered around the side chapels, dozens of friends and relatives of Jacintha Saldanha walked through the centre of the nave to take their place in the front rows.

They had come to the service of thanksgiving for the life of the 46-year-old nurse at the King Edward VII Hospital who was found dead after being duped by a prank call from two Australian radio DJs while the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated at the hospital.

Before a white bouquet near the altar, they remembered and prayed in silence until the choir rose to signal the arrival of Ms Saldanha's husband, Benedict Barboza, and their son Junal and daughter Lisha. They were shown to their seats by Canon Christopher Tuckwell, and closely followed by Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who has supported the family their bereavement.

Father Alexander Master presided over the service, held for "the repose of the soul of Jacintha and her grieving family". Referring to the first reading, from the Book of Ecclesiastes, he said: "'Blessed, those who will see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love; for we too shall certainly have life.' These words may be said of Jacintha too. May all those who mourn her find some comfort in peace."

After the service, the family paid emotional tributes to "a kind-hearted, generous woman". Fighting back tears, Mr Barboza said: "My wife, you were the light in my darkness, who always showed me the way forward... you always stood by me in times of hardship and happiness. I feel a part of me has been ripped out.

"Without your beautiful smile and sparkling personality, the house is an empty place to live. Nineteen years of togetherness with a strong bond of affection and understanding will be cherished for ever in my life. Your loss is a very painful one and nobody can take that place in my life ever again. I love you and miss you for ever."

Junal, 16, said: "Our mother, kind hearted, generous and a well-respected woman in both of our lives. You were the core of the family who kept us together. In times of difficulty you showed us the way forward to happiness and success.

"Your priority for us was a good education and a bright future. You taught us right from wrong, which we appreciate. You worked tirelessly to give us everything that we have today. When we achieved good grades and merit, your pat on our backs encouraged us more."

Lisha, 14, ended the family tributes, saying: "We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the times we had together. The house is an empty dwelling without your presence. We are shattered and there's an unfillable void in our lives.

"We love you Mum, sleep in peace and watch over us till we meet again in Heaven. We will always love you and keep you close to our heart."

Moments earlier, as Fr Master began the concluding rite, light burst in from windows behind the altar and briefly lit up the star as people turned to leave. Ms Saldanha will be buried in Karnataka, India, tomorrow.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is Europe's indust...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Technician

£17020 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Aerospace company is looki...

Recruitment Genius: Company Bookkeeper

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Bookkeeper is required to joi...

Recruitment Genius: Site Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to growth this company is seeking two Site...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen